Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of The GEO Group (NYSE:GEO) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report issued on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $24.00 target price on the real estate investment trust’s stock.

According to Zacks, “The GEO Group, Inc. is an equity real estate investment trust. It specializes in the design, development, financing and operation of correctional, detention and community reentry facilities. It has operations in the United States, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The GEO Group, Inc. is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. “

Other analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. TheStreet downgraded shares of The GEO Group from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a report on Tuesday, April 30th. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a hold rating on shares of The GEO Group in a report on Monday, March 11th. ValuEngine raised shares of The GEO Group from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, February 4th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded shares of The GEO Group from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and reduced their price target for the company from $27.00 to $26.00 in a report on Friday, February 15th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $25.00.

The GEO Group stock traded down $0.09 during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $21.49. The company had a trading volume of 176 shares, compared to its average volume of 528,166. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.39, a current ratio of 0.85 and a quick ratio of 0.85. The GEO Group has a 52 week low of $18.18 and a 52 week high of $28.06. The company has a market cap of $2.58 billion, a PE ratio of 8.77, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.52 and a beta of 1.47.

The GEO Group (NYSE:GEO) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.34 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.47 by ($0.13). The GEO Group had a net margin of 6.34% and a return on equity of 14.82%. The company had revenue of $610.70 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $601.83 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.57 earnings per share. The GEO Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.1% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that The GEO Group will post 2.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 22nd. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 15th were issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 8.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, April 12th. The GEO Group’s payout ratio is 77.73%.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its stake in The GEO Group by 24.7% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,710,553 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $93,358,000 after acquiring an additional 735,209 shares in the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. lifted its position in The GEO Group by 1.1% in the 4th quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 3,629,489 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $71,501,000 after buying an additional 38,821 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its position in The GEO Group by 1.5% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,135,116 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $61,762,000 after buying an additional 47,846 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its position in The GEO Group by 8.6% in the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,484,988 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $28,511,000 after buying an additional 117,671 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. lifted its position in The GEO Group by 24.6% in the 4th quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. now owns 1,448,175 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $28,529,000 after buying an additional 286,024 shares during the last quarter. 85.88% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About The GEO Group

The GEO Group, Inc (NYSE: GEO) is the first fully integrated equity real estate investment trust specializing in the design, financing, development, and operation of correctional, detention, and community reentry facilities around the globe. GEO is the world's leading provider of diversified correctional, detention, community reentry, and electronic monitoring services to government agencies worldwide with operations in the United States, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

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